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Hello everyone,
As usual my main accent is on the Ruy Lopez, but you'll also find the Italian, Scotch and Four Knights covered this month. Most of the games are taken from the GP tournament in Jermuk, but I also included two of my own games from the Jubilee tournament in Zurich.

Download PGN of September '09 1 e4 e5 games

Anti-Marshall [C88]

This time I have included two games in different lines of the Anti-Marshall. Let's start with Kamsky, G - Bacrot, E, 5th FIDE GP Jermuk 2009, which saw 8.h3.

This position already occurred in the game Shirov, A - Aronian, L, Elista 2007. Levon played 18...c4, but was worse. Instead, Bacrot came up with the interesting novelty 18...Nxe4, and achieved an equal position. However, a mistake on the 22nd move (22...Bxa2?) cost him dearly. Black's novelty 18...Nxe4 deserves serious attention despite Black's loss in this game.

Leko, P - Aronian, L, 5th FIDE GP Jermuk 2009, saw the 8.d4 line, and the key position arose after 15.Bf4, where Black has some choice:

Levon played 15...dxe5 here, as he had already played earlier, and although Leko introduced the strong novelty 18.Qc3 the Armenian defended well and Leko had to be satisfied with a draw. A well-played game by both players. Leko seemed to set Black some problems, but Aronian managed to hold the position with precise play. 22.Qxa6 was probably White's best chance to fight for some advantage.

Zaitsev System [C92]

Jakovenko, D - Inarkiev, E, 5th FIDE GP Jermuk 2009.

In the diagram position above Black played the extremely rare 16...Nb6, instead of the 16...Qc7 which was played in most of the earlier games. On moves 24 and 25 White erred and Black obtained an advantage, which he led to a win despite some inaccuracies. The positions which arose in this game were very complicated and so I'm expecting more tests of this line.

Chigorin System [C99]

Alekseev, E - Kamsky, G, 5th FIDE GP Jermuk 2009, featured an old and well-tested line in Chigorin's System.

Only here White introduced a novelty, 28.b4, but Black didn't have many problems equalising. A well-played game. It seems that the Chigorin system is fine for Black. Anyway, the ball is still in White's court and a good idea is required as Black's positions in this system are very solid.

The Exchange Variation [C69]

In the game Recuero - Mikhalevski,V, Jubilee Open Zurich 2009, I played a very solid system with ...f6 and ...Bg4 which had never previously occurred in my games.

In the diagram position White introduced the new move 11.Rd1, but I managed to equalise without big problems. The inaccuracies 18.Nxe5 and 19.cxb5 allowed two strong counterblows and soon Black took the initiative and brought home the full point. A relatively easy win thanks to White's inaccuracies in the middlegame. In my opinion the line with 6...Bg4 is one of the most solid systems against the Exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez.

Scotch [C45]

In Zurich I played against my highest rated opponent ever in games with a classical time rate - welcome to the game Morozevich, A - Mikhalevski, V Jubille Open Zurich 2009!

Usually it's very difficult to predict Alexander's opening choice, but this time the Scotch was part of my preparation for the game. However, instead of a sharp line with 12.Nd2 White went for a complex theoretical endgame of bishop and knight against rook and two pawns, which theory evaluates as equal.

This first critical position in the game arose after 20.Ne2. Here I spent a lot of time and found an interesting defensive idea, 20...g4 which led to an interesting fighting draw. The endgame is very complicated and requires a deep understanding of the position.

Italian Game [C50]

The game Ivanchuk, V - Aronian, L, 5th FIDE GP Jermuk 2009, featured a line of the Italian with 5.Nc3 and 6.Na4 which is very rare at the highest level:

Soon the two opponents left theory and started a long manoeuvring game. A quiet but interesting game, which featured many sophisticated manoeuvres, especially with the minor pieces. The position was never far from equality and so the outcome of the game is fully justified. Probably 8.Bg5 is the best chance to set Black problems.

Four Knights [C49]

In the game Cheparinov, I - Jakovenko, D, 5th FIDE GP Jermuk 2009, White played the rare line with 11.Bd2, instead of the automatic 11.Bc1. See below:

I was really surprised when I realised that White's idea is actually very logical and, indeed, only a few moves later White was already better. Cheparinov's advantage grew very fast and Black was already hopelessly lost by the first time control. A brilliant game from the Bulgarian GM, who didn't leave one of Russia's top players a single chances. Moreover, I won't be surprised if this rare line with 11.Bd2 will become the main line as I don't see any disadvantages compared to 11.Bc1, only advantages.


See you next month, Victor.

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